Legal Dictionary


Definition of alienation


  • IPA eɪliɛneɪʃʌn
  • Rhymes: -eɪʃǝn


alienation (usually uncountable; plural alienations)

  1. The act of alienating.

    The alienation of that viewing demographic is a poor business decision.

    * 1897, James D. Richardson, A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents[1]:
    That the mode of alienating their lands, the main source of discontent and war, should be so defined and regulated as to obviate imposition and as far as may be practicable controversy concerning the reality and extent of the alienations which are made.

  2. The state of being alienated.

    * 1874, Edward Bannerman Ramsay, Reminiscences of Scottish Life and Character[2]:
    I refer to the state of our divisions and alienations of spirit on account of religion.

  3. Emotional isolation or dissociation.

    * 1797, An English Lady, A Residence in France During the Years 1792, 1793, 1794 and 1795,[3], 2nd ed.:
    But these domestic alienations are not confined to those who once moved in the higher orders of society--the monthly registers announce almost as many divorces as marriages, and the facility of separation has rendered the one little more than a licentious compact, which the other is considered as a means of dissolving.

    * 1992 October 2, Jonathan Rosenbaum, "The Road to Overload", Chicago Reader:
    To watch it even once is to be distracted, but in an evocative and resonant manner--to be drawn away from Benning's travels and alienations and reminded of one's own.

Further reading

Alienation, in property law, is the capacity for a piece of property or a property right to be sold or otherwise transferred from one party to another. Although property is generally deemed to be alienable, it may be subject to restraints on alienation.


  1. Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.


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